Christian Horner, Sergio Perez

Perez knows his lack of points is an “unsustainable” situation – Horner

Formula 1

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says Sergio Perez understands that his poor haul of points in recent races needs to change.

Horner extended Perez’s contract to drive for the team last month. However he hit a slump in form around the same time and has only scored 15 points over the last six rounds.

Horner’s frustration was visible when Perez spun in the first round of qualifying and became stuck in a gravel trap, leaving him 19th on the grid.

“Of course it’s frustrating when both of your cars aren’t performing collectively,” said Horner. “It was frustrating to lose Checo in Q1.

“He’d missed [first practice] because of Isack Hadjar driving. He had a decent P2. He probably should have been around the top six and then to lose that car in Q1 was very frustrating.”

The team opted to start Perez from the pit lane with a fresh engine but he was unable to score points from there.

“This weekend nothing’s really gone his way,” said Horner. “We took a gamble in the race. He started on the hard tyre, he was making decent progress early on in the race.

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“The rain started to arrive, he was P15 or 16 at the time. You roll the dice at that point, as they did with Leclerc. We went onto the inter.

“If the rain had picked up he’d have looked a hero. It didn’t, so we had an extra stop and the time loss being on an inter on a drying track was haemorrhaging a lot of time for him. So obviously a lot to look at from over the weekend.”

This was the third time in five races Perez has failed to score, which Horner said cannot continue.

“He knows it’s unsustainable to not be scoring points,” said Horner. “We have to be scoring points and he knows that. He knows his role and his target and so nobody is more eager than Checo to get back.”

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said last weekend Red Bull should be “very concerned” Perez’s performance is allowing his team to catch them.

“They took seven points out of us today,” Horner acknowledged. It’s something that we’re acutely aware of. To win a constructors’ championship you need both cars scoring.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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69 comments on “Perez knows his lack of points is an “unsustainable” situation – Horner”

  1. Lol thank god he understands it, imagine if he was just okay with it!

    1. and so it goes ….

  2. I would say: Yuki in that car for a FP1 and check him out, if it doesn’t work put the clown/honey badger/swear box for a FP1.
    Unfortunately RedBull doesn’t have much of an alternative solution at t moment.

    1. I would love to see what Yuki would do in that car as well.
      Unfortunately (according to rumour, so it might be false) there is no love for Yuki at Red Bull and he will go when Honda leave.

      1. So Yuki to Aston Martin soon, and Alonso retired?
        Red Bull also can try with Lawson in a FP1

        1. Two more years for Alonso unless he decides to retire or go to another team. RBR:)

    2. Yuki is not a Redbull driver, he is a Honda driver, which is the more reason why they are reluctant to promote him

    3. @schivo69 I think that Red Bull already have a fair assessment of Yuki and found him not good enough for Red Bull. On average he is performing better than Ricciardo, but Daniel has some peak performances (Miami 2024, Mexico 2023) that Yuki does not seem to have.

      1. Partly agree, but If I was in Horner’s shoes I would test both of them.
        This will give the team and drivers peace of mind.
        Will leave out any reasonable doubt about the possibility that the car could suit one of the two drivers.
        If that’s not the case I could move on without any regret.
        This is me looking from outside without any other insights (telemetry, team dynamics, analysis etc).

        1. The most reasonable approach yet much too sensible for F1. The biggest issue is the restrictions on testing that mean you have to either publicly show you’re thinking about dropping a driver by doing that in free practice, use one of the limited tests of other types that the drivers might not be eligible for or try to use a filming session with limited amounts of KM allowed. I am not sure what the restrictions are on testing them in last year’s car is. I believe they are a lot less rigid, but I could be wrong. However, if I am right, that seems like it would be the best, possibly only avenue, to conduct the test through.

          1. I was thinking of giving them a FP1 each.

        2. @schivo69 in Ricciardo’s case, they already have the results of the testing that he carried out for them in 2023 in an RB19 – in fact, it was partially on the back of that test that they replaced de Vries with Ricciardo.

          As for Tsunoda, in his case, it seems that, up until relatively recently, Red Bull were somewhat disappointed with Tsunoda’s development outside of the cockpit.

          In the Japanese press, Tsunoda has openly talked about how, up until last year, he was doing a poor job in terms of his own personal development – he’s talked about how his feedback to his engineers was lacking in detail and described himself as having been “lazy” and “hated training”, resulting in his physical fitness being below expectations.

          In his own words, he had the wrong mentality towards developing those wider skills outside of the cockpit until last year. It seems that it was Gasly’s decision to leave Alpha Tauri, which meant Tsunoda was expected to take on responsibilities at Alpha Tauri that Gasly had previously taken on as more of a team leader, that pushed Tsunoda towards taking a much more proactive approach towards his own development in the past 12-18 months. It means that it’s probably only really now that Tsunoda is developing the wider all round skills that might make Red Bull more willing to consider him at the parent team.

          1. Pretty shocking to hear that, what a waste of a seat then.

          2. @maxv

            He didn’t have the same prep that European drivers get. He’s definitely not a waste of a seat.

  3. It’s not just the fact that he is costing them points in the constructors’ championship though is it.

    What must the atmosphere be like in the Red Bull pits on race days? and then back at base the next week?
    You’ve got one half of your team pushing to the limits and fighting hard for both Championships whilst the other half, with the same car, just seem to be catching a free ride for the heck of it thanks to an incompetent joke of a driver.

    I, for one, would feel embarrassed to be on Checos crew these days.

    1. most of the F1 fans world was cheering the day that Red Bull salvaged Checo’s career by signing him up. About time people realize they were just projecting (as Perez already had a mostly forgotten stint at McLaren when it was a top tier team, with forgettable results)

      1. I think that Perez had an excellent 2020, missing two races and still finishing P4 in the championship, with three times as much points as his teammate Stroll. So I think he deserved the Red Bull seat in 2021 and I was one of those that was cheering that Red Bull salvaged Checo’s career.

      2. Mclaren was no longer a top team when perez joined, I don’t understand why people keep saying that, it’s not been a top team since hamilton left, aside from nowadays.

      3. I wasn’t, and I’m Mexican. I’ve always maintained Checo is a mediocre driver with a handful of decent drives when everybody crashes on front and all the stars align… Plus Carlos’s Slim pocket is very deep, and Pérez sells more hats than anyone else: In central Mexico tourist areas, I swear to you every fourth guy has a Red Bull hat or shirt, I kid you not.

        1. This what I keep trying to tell people. They have no idea how much money he brings to the game. People keep being shocked that businessmen could be greedy. As long as he’s not embarrassing the team every week, they’re fine with him because he makes them all richer.

          Anyway, he’s already broached his performance clause by falling more than a 100 points behind Max. If he keeps driving this badly, it’s basically a contest between DR and LL as to who will replace him for the rest of the season. This is what insiders say. So don’t yell at me for not including Yuki in the conversation. (this last part is not directed at you, Esteban, but a particular group of users)

  4. You used Perez as a Guinea pig all weekend

    1. 100% agree. And probably doing the same with the car setup as well. Can’t score points when you have to pit twice as many times. Tough to find a driver that is willing to be this much of a team player.

    2. That was very hard when he was in the gravel after 2 laps to try anything. During the race Perez reep his wonderfull qualify result botom last….
      The only fail was pitting for inters but to be fair Perez and rain is almost a sure gravel visit…..

      1. Spain 2020 they ruined Albon’s race for the same reason. And he was in the top 6.
        They used him to see if the hard tyres was a good option for Max, if i remember correctly, and it was not a good option, his race was ruined, what could be a top 4 or top 5 became distant 8th place.

    3. Can’t blame them. He is 1 second a lap slower in race pace, useless…

    4. All weekend? Please. And, even if you accept that premise, he was still poor. Even on hards, he should have advanced way further than he did considering how long the first stint was.

  5. Go for Bottas. He regularly had the best of Lewis and like Perez doesn’t mind being the clear nr 2, often making way for a staged victory for the nr 1. Best choice ever. It worked brilliantly at Mercedes for years and years.

    1. He regularly had the best of Lewis

      Really? I seem to recall while he occasionally won races Hamilton didn’t, he was never a serious challenger to Hamilton.

      1. No, definitely not a challenger (that would void his role and was therefore sometimes avoided by James) but regularly the pole position.

        1. Hamilton 41 poles, Bottas 20 poles when they were teammates.
          Hamilton 71-30 Bottas in all qualifying.

          I wouldn’t call that Bottas regularly having the best of Hamilton in F1 terms.

          1. Yes, I’m guessing we could say he was more competitive, relative to hamilton, than perez was, relative to verstappen.

          2. Those are imho quite impressive stats from Bottas when paired against whom some argue to be the best of all time, I would definitely call that regularly, that is my point.

          3. Someone needs to learn the definition of “regularly.” Also, show us their race pace. Bottas would be regularly one pitstop behind Lewis even if managed to outqualify him.

  6. It wasn’t that long ago that people praised Pérez for seemingly settling for P2 and putting in a string of good results. Whatever happened to Red Bull, something Verstappen isnalsomstruggling with, is not just on Pérez. They “messed up” the car to some extent.

    I wonder if their decision to change the approach has limited their ability to develop the car, sort of in a reverse situation to where Mercedes was… remember how at the start of the year people were amused that Red Bull was going for a Mercedes-like approach just as everyone was adopting Red Bull’s design of 2023.

    1. They lost Newey. That’s what happened. They don’t have him to develop updates or figure out how to set up the very complex suspension (which he designed) and how those changes will effect both aero and riding the curbs. Yes, he actually showed up at Silverstone, but I wonder if he actually did the setup.

      Interesting to note, that beginning in September he is allowed to announce where he is going (if in fact he has or will have chosen by then).

      1. It’s the most obvious change looking from the outside, but at the same time there’ve been so many stories that Newey’s involvement was already quite low in recent times. It’s hard to tell.

        It’s also pretty odd to just lose such a big advantage as Red Bull had. I get that other teams bring upgrades, but so does Red Bull and the lead times for such things are pretty long from concept to design to manufacturing to putting it on the race cars. It doesn’t just go awry the second someone leaves the team.

        I won’t pretend to follow it closely enough, nor understand it well enough, but I hope that in the upcoming few weeks someone will really dig into the development path of the Red Bull and see what they’ve been up to. It’s really weird to see such a drastic change in the competitive situation over the course of just a few weeks in the first half of a season.

        1. I suspect newey might’ve done something, some sort of sabotage, as soon as he announced he was leaving, difficult to imagine how, but it’s very suspicious to lose this much performance as soon as he said he would be leaving.

          1. Horner is calling the police

          2. I don’t see how he could sabotage the car, unless the rest of the engineers are total yokels and instead of having less involvement as they claimed recently, everything was depending on him. He also doesn’t strike me as a nefarious character. No one has ever said he was Machiavellian.

        2. @MichaelN

          Not being able to ride the curbs alone has cost them dearly. And that’s suspension setup right there. Between that and McLaren rapidly advancing, Max no longer has any performance cushion.

  7. Lawson to Williams, Albon to replace Perez

    1. Albon doesn’t want to go back to RB

      1. That’s surprising, considering how difficult it is to get a chance at a top team.

  8. Lawson into Perez seat for a test, he can’t do worse than CP, DR, or YT imo

  9. There is such an obvious solution. Ask the Mexican sponsors if Pato O’ward can drive the Red Bull. Then you can keep that 35 million sponsorship money and you have a faster driver who won the Indycar race last Sunday.

    1. A nice idea but Pato O’Ward doesn’t have a super licence, Red Bull have all ready tried with him before.

      1. He does qualify for a superlicence and he is officially a reserve driver for McLaren. I like the idea as well and I would live to be a fly on the wall if Christian picks the phone up to Zak!

        1. He does qualify for a superlicence and he is officially a reserve driver for McLaren. I like the idea as well and I would live to be a fly on the wall if Christian picks the phone up to Zak!

          What? You don’t think Zak would jump at the chance to help out his old mate honest-Christian-Horner?

          Yeah, me neither.

          1. I bet if Zak could get Christian’s resignation I reckon he would be amenable.

    2. Good idea but Indycar is just a little bit faster than F2, you won’t really know if he can cut it in F1 until they try, which would be a massive gamble to directly go top team.

  10. Like this slump wasn’t predictable? Aren’t Formula 1 teams supposed to be the ultimate in data analysis?! Perez is following precisely the same pattern as 2023. I mean, I predicted this would happen and I know basically nothing…
    So what are Red Bull really up to? When Perez went off in qualifying, for the umpteenth time, Horner shook his head slowly and deliberately knowing full well he had a camera in his face (as Joylon Palmer observed). It looked like a decision was made there.

  11. I think unless you have another top driver in the car thats on the level of a Verstappen, Hamilton, Alonso etc.. that whoever is put in the 2nd car is going to struggle to some degree.

    Perez may not be a world champion level driver but he’s also not as bad as he’s looked at times the past few years, I mean you don’t pull out the sort of brilliant performances he did in lower tier cars unless you are good & even in ‘the best’ car you also don’t win races unless you are good enough to run at the front.

    I think his struggles are partly due to the car been geared more towards Max & Sergio just been unable to deal with that but this year especially I think the Red Bull has slipped back and Max been one of those exceptional talents is just able to better drive around it’s deficiencies and drag every last bit of performance out of it in a way I honestly don’t think all but 2-3 drivers on the current grid would be able to.

    1. Even accepting that Red Bull have fallen to third best team (which I don’t), Perez shouldn’t be going out in Q1. Or over a half a second behind Verstappen most of the time. If Perez can’t deal with the car, which may be the case, he has an entirely opposite driving style to MV, then other drivers are available. Red Bull never had an issue with divesting themselves of underperforming drivers before Perez. So presumably there are other reasons why he’s still there.

    2. There’s plenty of drivers in F1 that look good in midfield or backmarkers but awful in top cars, Perez is one of them, Mclaren knew way back then in 2013, and a reminder that they replaced Perez with KMag who got his only podium in his first race so for anyone of us watching KMag got real potential right? but Mclaren knew that he was also just a midfielder at best, and they were pretty much right too.

      Not every top driver is gonna become a WDC, but most of them wouldn’t not be going out in Q1 or Q2 on pace sometimes like Perez has, RB needs that top driver that may not have the potential to beat Max but is on that “tier”, let’s remember too that 2021 Perez wasn’t really all that great either, he was a worse Bottas, Perez has been flattered by 2022 and 2023 RB being so good that it masked his already awful performance with a couple of wins here and there.

      It may be a mental issue or just skill whatever it is top drivers have that ability to get closer to that 100% performance from top cars that midfield drivers don’t, also F1 drivers do decline with age just like anyone else, people like Alonso or Hamilton are not the norm, Checo is 34 the old Checo who blocked Hamilton in 2021 or won Sahkir in 2020 or got unlikely podiums way back even in a Sauber probably doesn’t exist anymore.

      1. 2013 mclaren was a midfield car, it was around the level of mercedes, perez has never been in a top car until 2021.

        1. True, but they could still analyze the data.

      2. Yes, I also consider him a bit worse than bottas in 2021, but there were people saying he would improve on his 2nd season with the team, and it seemed possible, just didn’t happen in the end. His current level is far worse than 2021.

      3. Also, 34 is too young to already be declining, mathematical models said decline starts at 35 in f1 and is slow at first, then the speed increases at 40.

        1. How many drivers have they even had in the modern era who drove past 40? 2 or 3 at most? Not much of a model. But, yeah, mid-30s is definitely an era where decline beings to accelerate. A driver’s true peak is always in their mid 20s when they’ve matured a bit and still retain 95% of the flower of youth.

      4. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of bigger discrepancy between a race winning driver and their teammate through a season. Senna & Dumfries maybe? I’d have to look at the results. But Barrichello, Patrese etc were all with 1% or 2% of their much more successful associate. I’m sure someone can think of a partnership more one sided, but I can’t.

        1. 1% percent on lap of 1:30 is 0.9 seconds, so by that metric Perez is well within that.

      5. @Alonslow

        Well said.

  12. Well the Mexican got payed and contract signed, so usually thats siesta time. Pay after work done is the local rule..

    1. Indeed, silly to renew his contract before he showed some mid-season form, after already seeing his mid-season last year.

    2. @maxv Well if you decide to believe everything you read then apparently Checo’s new (not sure about old) contract provides an out for RBR if he falls more than 100 points behind at both the summer break and end of season.

      Would not surprise me if RBR wanted rid of him PDQ so took a chance on him falling outside some performance parameters that were in a new contract. This could allow them to get rid of Checo and keep the full sponsorship money for 2024. RBR are definitely machiavellian enough to engineer that.

      1. Yup, from what I’m hearing he’s already broken his performance clause with the 100 points gap. He’s more than 5 wins away in difference and we’re only at the halfway point. That’s shocking. If you further believe what you read, SP will retained if he resumes driving well in the next two races. If not, it’s a shootout between Lawson’s data and DR’s performances at RB. I think they’re furious with Honda for dropping out and then coming back only a season later and committing to Aston. They never wanted to have to go it alone let alone partner with Ford. That’s the other reason in addition to attitude (their words re: attitude, not mine) they seem to ignore Yuki.

  13. The thing with the Perez situation is now who do Red Bull put in a car beside Max.
    Their only performing driver currently, Yuki, still lacks experience and manners if we are going by some of recent trips to the steward, making him a potential sponsor nightmare. Riccardo who should have been a shoe in is still not hitting his best results and quite possibly would not appear to warrant the seat on current performance only.
    Lawson is still an unknown quantity.
    Are they regretting not signing Sainz?

    1. Yuki doesn’t lack experience. It’s now or never. However, I doubt that he’d look very good in RB unless his driving style is extremely similar to Max. Since RB doesn’t really care about Yuki anyway, why not experiment? Lawson is definitely too inexperienced. Putting him alongside Max would be intentional sabotage of Liam’s career, and RB doesn’t have its drivers bypass the feeder team. Even Max paid his dues in the sister team first. Yuki is the logical choice if RB doesn’t with Sainz, who would be the best candidate in reality.

  14. As long as Carlos Slim keeps paying the big bucks, Checo’s situation is obviously sustainable.

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